The FAA has weighed in on the environmental impacts of the SpaceX Launch Site


The environment includes people. The draft FAA report says 527 people live in the region on the U.S. side of the border. Ninety percent of them are people of color and 82 percent are in households where income is double the poverty line or less. That makes construction and potential for ecological hazards environmental justice issues, as well, said Moriba Jah, an aerospace engineer at the University of Texas at Austin, whose research includes environmental issues.

Although Jah, Berg, Gabler and others said they did not see any arrival from the company to talk about environmental concerns and other local issues with residents. “SpaceX should go to the community and say, ‘We’re going to build a city hall. This is what we want to do.’ If SpaceX would at least create a good trust that ‘This is what we want to work with the community,’ I think that’s better. But I haven’t seen anything even so far happen, “Jah said.

“They want to treat locals like, ‘You should be glad we’re here.… We won’t ask permission, but we’ll apologize later,'” said Rob Nixon, vice chairman of the Surfrider Foundation, South Texas Chapter , a group that advocates for public access and preservation of the coast.For example, in its count, SpaceX has closed Highway 4, the only public access to the public beach in Boca Chica, for more than 300 hours in each of the past two years, in violation of the company’s previous FAA agreement.With Starship’s plans, SpaceX expects 500 hours of closure per year, according to a new FAA report.

That said, at Monday’s hearing, most commentators expressed support for the company. “I support SpaceX and their efforts as a whole as a local, and I’m excited about their presence here,” said Austin Barnard of Brownsville, Texas. “This is the first time I’ve seen my community fully embrace that there is a new dawn coming to humanity by exploring space and expanding our civilization to another world.”

He was followed by another resident of the area, Jerónimo Reyes-Retana, who lamented the lack of attention from Mexican communities across the border. “The assessment was deliberately chosen to ignore the existence of multiple Tamaulipas solutions that are within the limited region of which the FAA has an impact,” he said.

As private companies step up their launch, FAA officials cut their work for them, with several environmental inspections running like the one in Boca Chica. But they are not the only agency controlling the space industry. While the FAA oversees launch and reentry, the FCC charge includes space communications, the Commerce Department oversees space economic activities, NASA provides various instructions, and the Pentagon monitors the surpluses. in orbit.

“What we’re doing now with spaceflight is similar to what happened in aviation in the 1920s. It’s a patchwork: You’ve got to be involved in the Post Office and the Department of Commerce, and there’s never really been clearly in charge. Until the 1930s and 1940s, if anything where commercial aviation begins to take over, when they begin to consolidate these services into one agency or department, ”said Wendy Whiteman Cobb, a political scientist at the Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies .He believes the federal government can finally consolidate space commerce regulations under the ambition of one agency.



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